The Book of Broken Hearts officially hit the shelves on May 21st, which is, like, YAY! But it hasn’t hit all the shelves. Which is, you know, BOO! I’ve been debating whether to blog about this situation, hoping against all odds that it would resolve itself. But it hasn’t, and now that I’ve officially heard from readers who’ve had trouble finding the book at Barnes & Noble, I wanted to let you know what’s going on.
The Situation (super short version of a boring tale of corporate woe)
Just because a book is published doesn’t guarantee it a spot on the store shelves (even if the stores have successfully sold an author’s previous books). B&N, like all brick and mortar book stores, decides which books to shelve in its physical locations–sometimes nationally, sometimes on a store by store basis–and they order those titles directly from publishers. Additionally, publishers pay for premium placement of books–those “Summer Reads” end cap displays and colorfully arranged stacks on the tables are all sponsored by publishers (it’s called “co-op”), and the rates and terms are negotiated, like so many things in the book biz.
My publisher for The Book of Broken Hearts is currently in negotiations with B&N, the nature of which I don’t fully understand–it’s too crazy-making to follow, especially when I need to be working on the next book! But the bottom line and bummer of it all is that they’ve yet to reach an agreement. As a result, B&N has cut orders drastically on many of my publisher’s titles, including mine. So, unlike all of my previous novels… super sadface… The Book of Broken Hearts won’t be available in many B&N stores.
It’s a difficult situation. As an author who’s still trying to connect with new fans, I rely on the only remaining national chain bookstore to help grab the attention of random browsers, people who’d only discover The Book of Broken Hearts by seeing it on the shelves, picking it up, and giving it a chance. Now, I’ve lost the opportunity to connect with some of those new readers. And longtime fans who walk into a Barnes & Noble specifically looking for a copy might be disappointed to learn it’s not in stock.
Many of my author friends are in the same boat, and we’re all just trying to support one another and keep our chins up. It’s one of those tough breaks in a business that’s full of constant ups and downs, good news and bad. It’s one of the many reasons writers consume so much chocolate and wine. 🙂
But before you join me in the group ugly cry, wait! All is not lost, because…
Dear Readers and Friends, You Can Help!
If you’re interested in reading The Book of Broken Hearts (or any S&S title affected by this situation), there are still lots of ways you can get your hands on a copy and help support your favorite authors:
- Shop indie. Independent bookstores rock. They’re super supportive of authors, passionate about the books they carry, boosters of the local economy, curators of local literary events, and they’re eager to help you find exactly what you’re looking for (and maybe some stuff you didn’t even know you were looking for). My favorite indie is Tattered Cover here in Denver, but you can find a store close to you on IndieBound.
- If B&N is your store for all things bookish, and your local B&N doesn’t have The Book of Broken Hearts on the shelves, ask them to order a copy for you.
- Order a copy on Amazon.com or BN.com (the online site should always have copies available, regardless of in-store stock)
- Purchase it online as an ebook
If you’ve already read the book (thank you!), and you want to be especially awesome and earn lots of virtual hugs and chocolate-covered gratitude, there are a few other ways to show the love:
- Post a review on Amazon.com or BN.com. This is hugely helpful. Like spotting new books on the store shelves, honest reader reviews help other readers with similar tastes discover new books. Plus, as a book earns more reviews online, it tends to show up more often in search results and in “readers who liked this book also liked that one” promos.
- Ask your library to order a copy for their collection. Libraries are another local resource for readers and authors alike, and they’re a great way to help readers discover new books.
- Tell a friend. If you’ve got a reader friend who might enjoy the book, tell her about it! Better yet, get her a copy as a gift! (wink wink)
- Encourage reader friends to lather, rinse, repeat on some or all of the above. 🙂
Did Someone Say Chocolate?
You guys have already been so supportive and amazing–from those first joyful days of seeing Twenty Boy Summer on the shelves in 2009, to every new book release since. I mean it when I say that I wouldn’t survive this career if not for you. Seriously. Without readers and fans, I wouldn’t be a writer. I’d be a person who hangs out in PJs all day entertaining the voices in her head, wondering who ate all the chocolate. So to all of you, whether you’re longtime fans or family members who are forced to be fans, whether you’re a teen or just a young adult at heart, whether you’re a librarian or a blogger or a bookseller or a publisher or a fellow author, THANK YOU. For reading, for sharing your love of books with the world. For being such awesome and supportive bookworms. For giving me the honor of telling stories for a living, no matter how hard the business side of it gets. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Hugs. Chocolate. More hugs.